By Nasser Arrabyee/24/12/2009
Tribal leaders and eyewitnesses said that five Al Qaeda operatives were buried today Thursday in Al Raid area close to the site where about 30 Al Qaeda operatives were killed earlier in the day by air raids.
From the site, the tribal sheikh Lahmar bin Salfooh, said that the five men were comrades of Fahd Al Kusa and that all of them are from Al Awlaki tribe in Shabwah province.
Al Kusa, who was released after being convicted of participating in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000, was not among the dead bodies, said Bin Salfooh.
"Fahd Al Kusa is still alive, maybe he was in other place at the time of strike," he said
"I saw only five dead bodies, three of them from Nesab district including Mohammed Ahmed Omair, and one from Al Saeed district, and the fifth from Ausailan, and all of them are Awlakis," said bin Salfooh an interview over phone from the site.
The tribal sheikh said that the strike came before a tribal meeting scheduled for today Thursday for consultations about how to get these Al Qaeda members out from their area. The strike cancelled our meeting to get rid of those elements, we do not agree with them, he said. The strike was by warplanes and missiles from the sea, he added.
He held the government responsible for eliminating Al Qaeda members from their area.
"They (Al Qaeda) claim they fight America, and there is no America, in our villages," he said.
When asked about the top leaders of Al Qaeda, Nasser Al Wahayshi, and Saeed Al Shihri, he said, "I do not know them, I saw only the five dead bodies I mentioned."
Earlier in the day, an official statement said more than 30 Al Qaeda operatives including top leaders were killed when warplanes bombed a hideout for Al Qaeda in Shabwah province.
The statement said the raid targeted an Al Qaeda meeting chaired by Nasser Al Wahayshi and the Saudi Saeed Al Shihri, the top leaders of the Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
No confirmation yet that the top leaders Al Wahayshi and Al Shihri were certainly killed in today's operation.
The statement which was issued by the country's highest security committee, said at 4 30 am today Thursday, the security forces implemented an anticipatory strike against Al Qaeda in Rafdh area in Al Saeed district in Shabwah province south east of the country.
More than 30 Al Qaeda operatives, Yemenis and non-Yemenis, were killed in the operation, said the statement.
The terrorists were planning for taking retaliatory acts for the last Thursday's operation in Al Majalah in Abyan, said the statement .
The security committee said the strikes and hunt down would continue until the terrorists are permanently eradicated.
The committee also warned Yemeni citizens from providing any kind of cooperation to Al Qaeda elements.
Last Thursday at dawn also, Yemeni security forces supported with warplanes, implemented three simultaneous operations against Al Qaeda in three different places in Yemen killing more than 24 terrorists including Pakistanis, Saudis, and Egyptians and five more foreigners with unknown identities. More than 30 Al Qaeda operatives were arrested in those operations.